1. Do not burn.
Our first tip seems like a bit of an understatement. The Skin Cancer Foundation says that tanning alone can indicate damage to your skin, but a burn means you’ve gotten too much sun.
2. Wear long sleeved rash guards, wide-brimmed hats, and other sun protective clothing.
Clothing labeled “UPF+” will reflect UV rays, and is an easy and convenient way to protect broad areas of skin from the sun.
Samantha E. Hill, MD, FAAD
3. Use a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30.
Applying sunscreen at least 15 minutes before getting wet or sweating will allow it to absorb into your skin, giving you better protection. Reapplying every two hours or so can help ensure that your skin doesn’t burn. Make sure to cover all skin that will not be covered by clothing — don’t forget the top of your head, tops of your ears and feet, and the back of your neck!
Soni Carlton, MD
4. Protect your skin even on cool or cloudy days.
While you may not be able to see the sun on cloudy days, UV rays are always present. In fact, the American Cancer Society says cloudy days are when you’re most likely to get sunburned. Be sure to protect your skin.
5. Use extra caution near water, snow, and sand.
Water, snow, and sand all have a high albedo, which means these surfaces reflect harmful UV rays and increase your chances of getting sunburned while near them. Don’t forget to wear sunscreen!
6. Try to schedule your outdoor activities to avoid peak times of sun.
Peak times can range from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Scheduling any activities for before and after these times can really save your skin.
Grace Newton, MD, FAAD
Grace A. Newton, MD, Dermatology
7. Seek shade, especially during the sun’s peak hours.
If you do happen to be outdoors, an umbrella or a nice, shady tree can be welcome relief from the sun’s harsh rays, and the perfect place to relax and enjoy being outside.
8. Get vitamin D safely through a healthy diet or vitamin supplements.
It can be difficult to get vitamin D without getting sun damage. Luckily, there are safe, healthy alternatives. For instance, WebMD suggests vitamin D rich foods like fatty fish (e.g. tuna, mackerel, salmon), egg yolks and cheese. Vitamin supplements are also an easy way to get vitamin D into your diet.
9. Avoid intentional tanning and tanning beds.
While tanning can give you that skin tone you’re aiming for, lots of exposure to UV rays can really increase your chances of getting skin cancer down the road. It’s important to take care of your skin!
10. Carefully examine all of your skin once a month.
Detecting melanoma early can save your life. If you find a new or growing spot on your skin, have it examined by a professional dermatologist immediately.